Wednesday, July 30, 2008


A laureate summit in Wellington Monday 4 August will be a rare chance to hear all New Zealand's living poet laureates read at one event.

The event, jointly organised by Victoria University's International Institute of Modern Letters and the National Library of New Zealand, will include readings from current laureate Michele Leggott (left) and former laureates Jenny Bornholdt, Elizabeth Smither, Brian Turner (right) and Bill Manhire.
Kate Camp introduces the poets.

All laureates will bring their tokotoko—a ceremonial stick carved with details personal to each of them—to this event. The first two were carved from rata, but subsequent tokotoko are more idiosyncratic. Brian Turner's is made from a hockey stick, Michele Leggott's from a pool cue, and Elizabeth Smither's from a gear lever. Although the sixth laureate, Hone Tuwhare, died earlier this year, his tokotoko will be at the event.

This is the first time the tokotoko have all been in one place and will provide an excellent photo opportunity. Jacob Scott, who carved all the tokotoko will be present too. More information about the tokotoko can be found here:

The event will also act as the launch of poetry CDs by Wellington laureates Bill Manhire and Jenny Bornholdt. These two collections are the first two in a projected series offering a selection of work spanning each laureate’s career. The CDs are available from Jayrem Records.

What: Hand to Hand - Five Laureates
When: 5.30pm Monday 4 August for refreshments (readings from 6pm)
Where: National Library foyer, Wellington

This event is part of the International Institute of Modern Letters' Writers on Mondays series. For the full programme see:

For more information please contact Victoria University lecturer or 0272113287.

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